Meet Nadine and Carina:
1. Your background is in fine art. How does that make your wedding photography aesthetic different than others? We didn't start out as wedding photographers. We each attained a BFA in Photography and actually started out and still currently work as commercial and fine art photographers. We use the technical experience and concepts we've learned to strengthen our wedding photography. We are very much inspired by fine art photographers and look at a lot editorial work to create unique and sophisticated compositions. Our first approach to a wedding is to look at the beautiful lighting, the compositions of the space, and the many details rather than a strict photojournailistic approach. We are also very conscious of our equipment and what lenses we use and the depth of field, to create a specific look to an image. For example, we will frequently use a tilt-shift lens to mimic the selective focus look of an old 4x5 camera. We want to take photographs that narrate a story of the entire day, while portraying our subjects as genuine as possible in a fine art sensibility.
2. Love Me Do is comprised of two teams. How does this partnership work and how do you push each other to produce better images? Each of us have spent years working on our own in photography, while sharing resources with other photographers. Since we have a common field and interest, we thought, "why not bring our businesses together, and proceed as a team?" Thus, Love Me Do was formed! Not knowing what the outcome would be like, we dove into a joint business, and we've really seen some great benefits come out of it. For starters, we inspire each other! We are able to share ideas and techniques, and are continually helping each other out when one of us comes across something new we want to try. It is also great when one of us needs extra hands on some of the more extravagant weddings or when one of us is already booked for a date, we can refer one another. It helps that we have a deep respect for one another's work, for we each represent Love Me Do Photography and have to trust each other's abilities. And lastly, we've discovered that we are able to reach more eyes and ears by spreading the workload of marketing. The more mouths we have talking about our photography, the easier it is to get heard!
3. Are there any shoots in your portfolio that have stood out as one of your favorites of all time? Nadine: Well, every new wedding is exciting, but I just did a really fun shoot at the Union League in Philadelphia for Carolyn and Chris's wedding (found on our blog). I think I had so much fun beacuse I shot their rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the brunch the next day, so I really got to know the family. The groom was awesome, and loved having his picture taken, which doesnt happen to often. The kids wore fairy wings and the centerpieces were all different version off mystical tree stumps and flowers. There was this amazing gypsy drum band that came to play and everyone loved it. There was just a lot of genuine love with this couple and it was also very sweet how they also included their 2 year old son in the wedding. One of my favorite pitcures is the three of them walking down the isle after the cermony and the look on Carolyn's face is priceless.
Carina: Woah this is a hard one. I think that every week we do a new wedding, I find myself in love with a new picture. So naturally I love the most recent wedding we just photographed of Bess and Matt (on our blog). They are just a great fun loving couple that we worked with really well and they looked amazing! But if I were to look back on certain images... there's one shot of a bride, Kristen (also on the blog), that I took while we were waiting for the groom to round up his family for a group portrait. I noticed that I had a minute to spare, and thought, "why not take a few shots of the bride right now?" And boy am I glad I did! Everything was just right, the composition, the light, Kristen looking beautiful, and right as I was taking the shot, the wind blew ever so slightly to give some movement in her dress for the picture. I couldn't have dreamed of a better shot of that day. In one click of a shutter, I was able to remove all the busyness, chatter, and natural stress of a wedding day. You wouldn't think that there was a crowd of people right behind me waiting to get their photos taken just as I took this breath-of-fresh-air of a shot.
4. When you're shooting, what's your first priority? Lighting, emotion, natural moments, etc? With our backgrounds, we both would say lighting and composition are the must-have foundation for each photograph. If you have the technical experience down, the natural moments just come to you. We both are very big on how we pose and not-pose people. When it comes to dealing with the bride and groom's pictures, we very much want the couple to look natural, at ease, as if they were alone and being themselves together. We will make suggestion of standing and hand placements and kindly tell people to move into the beautiful light. For most people, having their picture taken this much is a new thing, and we like to do things like make them laugh and tell them to wisper something in the others ear, to just to make look at ease and relaxed. It often creates that "natural moment."
5. What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Nadine: Thats a tough one because I cant think of one single piece of advice I was given, other than shoot, shoot, and keep shooting. I think the single most important thing is creating your personal style. It's great to look at websites, blogs, and magazines for inspiration, but you really have to shoot A LOT to understand your own taste and aesthetic. This is really what is going to set you apart from other photographers, and people want to hire you for "your unique look." Another thing is, take a breathe. It can be extremely overwhelming starting your own business, but the thing I always remind myself is that its a process. You're going to start off small, and that's okay. Slowly you will build your amount of equipment and lenses and your clients. Like Carina says below, I also only buy what I can afford at the moment. I have found weddings are a very "word of mouth business", so its good to have great relationships with your clients and other vendors so they reccommend you. In terms of marketing, you should look like a cohesive package from your website to your stationary to your presentations. Its number one to have an easy and clean navigating website, and having a blog has been a real asset to our business as well.
Carina: My first photo teacher said to me, "Don't ever buy your own photography equipment... have other people buy it for you." When asked by other students what he meant by this. He elaborated on how we should look for jobs in photography, get paid to do a good job, then use the money we just made to buy better equipment. So far this has worked really well for me because I started searching for anything and anyone that would hire me as a photographer. I just put myself out there and started getting jobs in which I had no experience in, such as movie set photography, head-shots, architecture, and events. I learned so much from these experiences having to figure things out as each new opportunity came my way, creating a pretty good background for myself. If I never tried to do something new, I would have never succeeded in creating a name for myself. Plus I never put myself in debt by buying extremely expensive equipment. Hello to no credit card payments!
I LOVED this interview and feel like Nadine and Carina really gave us amazing insight into their business and art. Thanks SO MUCH to you both for opening up and sharing!!! I love your work and am so excited to show it off!!!